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The Bills had a disappointing season in 2015 but Tyrod Taylor was a pleasant surprise. Right from training camp, his name kept coming up as the likely starter and that proved to be true. Taylor looked poised from the beginning, completing 242 of 380 passes for 3035 yards with 20 touchdowns against only 6 interceptions. Add to that 568 rushing yards and an additional 4 touchdowns and Taylor proved he belonged as a legitimate NFL quarterback. At 27 years old, he should be locked in as the Bills starter for many seasons to come although he did slow down a bit as the season wore on and there is a little concern about that in Buffalo. He is clearly the best option for the Bills at this time.
Many buried E.J. Manuel's NFL career after he was beat out for the starting job a year ago but E.J. Manuel kept working and actually performed quite well in the games he stepped in. He finished with 561 passing yards on 52 of 84 passes with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Not exceptional numbers but good enough to prove the talent is there if he can get the maturity and leadership needed to step in under center. It is Taylor's team right now but Manuel could knock on that door with a great camp.
Cardale Jones should have come out last season while his stock was hot as he had a disappointing season with Ohio State this year and fell to the 4th round. He is a big, athletic kid with a strong arm and will have a chance to start at the next level if he takes to good coaching.
While his statistics were a little underwhelming in his first season with the Bills, his effort, energy and ability were never really in question. He didn't always get the blocking needed to get going but he displayed the burst and elusiveness which made him the 2nd best fantasy running back back in both 2011 and 2013. He did put up 1187 total yards and 5 touchdowns in 12 games so over a full sixteen game season, 1600+ total yards is a very strong bet. The only concern I have at this time is a very capable, 2nd year back Karlos Williams who looked powerful and explosive as a rookie last year.
Karlos Williams is a beast. Big, powerful, fast, runs with attitude and refuses to go down. In limited action as a rookie, Williams 517 rushing yards on only 96 carries and scored 9 touchdowns. That is pretty incredible. He is a tank on the field, barreling through defenders but also has a burst explosive enough to rip off long runs. How Williams lasted to the fifth round is beyond me and he could certainly cut into LeSean McCoy's carries this season.
It could be the Williams 'Bash Brothers' in Buffalo very soon as the Bills scooped up Jonathan Williams from Arkansas in the 4th round of the NFL Draft. I had a second round grade on Williams and I love his mix of quickness, power, speed and vision. In fact if injury didn't take him down in 2015, I believe he had a chance to be a first round pick. Jonathan and Karlos will form a dynamic duo as early as 2017.
Marcus Easley, Greg Little, Marquise Goodwin, Jarrett Boykin:
Sammy Watkins had some injury issues last year but still managed to catch 60 passes for 1047 yards and score 9 touchdowns in just 13 games. He has great size, explosive, speed, vision and he is a legitimate star receiver in the making. I expect his numbers to climb up to 80 receptions, 1200 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. He is that good.
Former 2nd round pick Robert Woods has flashed some good moments in his NFL career but he really hasn't completely lived up to expectations. Last year he struggled with a groin injury and finished with 47 receptions for 552 yards and only 3 scores. Those numbers were down across the board from his 2014 stats. Woods is a good route runner and at just 24 years of age, he still may improve and become a solid WR2 for the Bills. For now though the team has been at least casually searching for a number two receiver to help take focus away from Sammy Watkins. If Woods is healthy, 60 receptions is a real possibility.
A six-year veteran receiver, Leonard Hankerson is a serviceable receiver without a lot of upside. He has good size, runs decent routes and his experience can be valuable. He does have only 107 total receptions and 9 touchdowns in his career though and there is no reason to expect an elevation of stats.
Nick O'Leary, Jacob Maxwell:
The Bills received mix results last year after scooping up Clay from the Miami Dolphins by signing him to a huge $38 million / 5 year contract. Charles Clay was a solid presence at tight end but his 51 receptions for 528 yards and 3 scores in thirteen games was not exceptional. Clay works hard, runs good routes and the team knows what he will bring on any given play. He could be as high as a 70-reception player over a full sixteen game season but could also slide down to the 55 range as well.
Projected Starters: LT Cordy Glenn, LG Richie Incognito, C Eric Wood, RG John Miller, RT Cyrus Kouandijo
Key Backups: Jordan Mills, Cyril Richardson, Seantrel Henderson
It all starts up the middle with the Buffalo Bills as Eric wood is a Pro Bowl talent in the prime of his career. He is the leader of this group and as dependable as they come. Cordy Glenn is a very good, physical offensive tackle and has been signed to a long-term contract to remain a foundation piece along this group. Richie Incognito has reignited a career that was fizzling out but at 32-years of age, I am not sure he can keep up the All-Pro level he achieved last year. He is a physical nasty player though and makes this group better. John Miller is the starter at right guard but needs to get more consistent while a three player battle is underway to determine the starting right tackle. I really like what Cyrus Kouandijo brings to the table and I am picking him to start but Jordan MIlls and Seantrel Henderson will be staking a claim to it as well. All in all the Buffalo Bills have a solid group here and if they figure out the right side of the line could be outstanding. Those are big 'ifs' at this time however.
He has hit a remarkable 88 of 98 field goals with the Bills over the past three years.